Friday, March 15, 2013

Murder, She Knit

I’ve been watching a lot of streaming stuff this week while trying to plow through the knitted-on edging of the lace stole. Some of it good, some of it not so much. But I did run across a neat little documentary that I found fascinating, and which included a bit of knitting.

photo (2)Of Dolls & Murder covers the contributions of Frances Glessner Lee to the field of forensic medicine and the development of crime investigation. Lee, who was from a wealthy family connected to International Harvester, was not allowed to seek higher education. However, through her brother and and one of his college classmates, she became interested in the science of crime investigation and endowed the department of legal medicine at Harvard. But her unique contribution to the field was her creation of 18 incredibly detailed miniature dioramas of crime scenes that are known as the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.

They’re amazing. At first glance, they look like regular little dollhouses. But then you see the bodies, and the blood splatters, and the signs of a struggle, and the open windows. Supposedly, only a select few know the “answers” to the mysteries outlined. And though they were created in the middle of last century, they’re still used to train forensic investigators today. Lee created these herself, by hand, even knitting the victims’ stockings on what must have been very fine-gauge pins. Despite their grim nature, they are quite beautiful.

On the personal knitting front, I continue to plug away at the Print O’ The Wave Stole. I’ve completed three sides of the knitted-on edging, and “only” have one more long one to go. I really want to be able to stretch this thing out so I can see the pattern better. For right now, it just looks lumpy. One of the nerve-wracking things about lace knitting is having to wait so long for the payoff. But the end is in sight. I suppose it’s time to put some serious thought into what I might tackle next.


  1. I knew nothing of Frances Glessner Lee, those dollhouse murder dioramas are fascinating, beautiful and gruesome at the same time. And I see that the DVD is narrated by John Waters. Thanks for introducing me!

  2. I'm thinking maybe I'll watch Of Dolls and Murder tomorrow!